Day 2) 11 Mirtul, 1490 DR, continued
Once we got to the bat caves, we realised the terrible mistake the villagers had made in coming here. The entrance showed long-term signs of goblin use. The villagers must have come in here and stumbled straight into the horde, who then captured the refugees and went on to pillage the village. Worried for their safety, we rushed straight in and ended up facing a bunch of goblins and ogres. After a short fight, one of the goblins ran away and we gave chase. He lead us straight to the cavern where the chief sat – or soon cowered as we made our grand entrance.
Using the advantage we had, I intimidated him into returning the prisoners to us for free. It didn’t quite work, so we had to fulfil a quest for him instead. I decided this was acceptable, as it’s always better to avoid bloodshed. Unfortunately we perhaps chose the wrong quest. We took on a metal eating ooze which left our armour and weapons worse for wear. I do wonder if paying the ransom might have been cheaper in the end…
Either way we managed to rescue the refugees (those who were still alive at least) and return them to the village. We were well received by the grateful survivors and as we exchanged their lost belongings where we could, they paid us back as much as they could, replacing our ruined clothing and some of our equipment. We were also requested to send word to the relatives of the people who died in the attacks. I managed to convince the final member of the Seven Snakes to ditch the Zhentarim and join us. He has joined us! His name is Umbero Calabra. I’m not sure how much we can trust him, though if we keep him motivated he hopefully will not try to betray us. We were just deciding on where to start when all of a sudden the screaming start again!
There was a giant castle once again floating above us! But this one was different. It was smaller and had a wizard’s hat on top. A great stairway made of cloud descended down. We had to climb, as we could not leave this mystery unsolved. Ninya was the only one able to make it to the top with any energy left, though at least Aukanthi and I were not suffering the same vertigo as poor Umbero.
We entered the castle. It was huge. Inside was a table which we could all comfortably stand under without stooping. We looked around for a bit, then I called out. There was no response for a while, and then suddenly ‘HELLOOOOO!’. A giant wizard was descending through the ceiling.
He introduced himself as Zephyros and I introduced myself to him. ‘YOU ARE THE ONE!’ he declared. I felt my heart beat speed up, and I dared to hope it might be true that there was some special destiny for me. He turned to Ninya and she introduced herself. ‘YOU ARE THE ONE!’ Hmm. Well. He said the same thing to Aukanthi. Umbero introduced himself last, but all Zephyros said to him was ‘Hi.’
He has said he will take us wherever we wish to go! I don’t know why he is doing this, but we are grateful to him, as we have a long way to go to tell all the people we have to tell about their departed loved ones.
Day 3) 12 Mirtul, 1490 DR
We have not seen our mysterious benefactor all day. Our flight continues. It is cold and draughty, but we are moving so much faster than any legs could take us, humanoid or equine. Umbero is not coping too well. Hopefully this doesn’t take too long.
Day 4) 13 Mirtul, 1490 DR
Finally some action! It was another boring day of watching the distant landscape go by while shivering from the cold, until giant vultures bearing bird-helmeted riders appeared and landed on our cloud. They demanded to see Zephyros so I called up to him. To my surprise, he emerged!
The cultists demanded that he give fealty to the evil elemental god of air. I burst in at this juncture to point out to them that this was a really dumb idea. I’m a fan of the ground for one, and Zephyros is a cloud giant, so he needs water as well as air. Not too mention these cultists probably drink water to survive. Anyway, I pointed out to them that if they really wanted to live on a plane of nothing but air, that already existed! They thought about it for a moment. I suggested they go find a wizard in Waterdeep that can send them there. Surprisingly, I managed to convince them and they left without any violence! They gave me a gift of 10 pinches of pixie dust. Apparently there’s a chance it could make me fly. Only a chance? I wonder what it does otherwise?
Day 5) 14 Mirtul, 1490 DR
We arrived in Goldenfields at dawn. The castle flew off slowly, raising its staircase… I’m not sure if we’ll ever see Zephyros again. But we went up to the gatehouse of the great walled farm. The guards were very friendly and just let us straight in. It was rather strange. But the kind reception continued as we stopped at the first store in town. The nice woman there was selling cornucopias and produce. I told her I wanted to bring a gift to a man who had lost his parents, so she gave us a cornucopia for free. So kind!
When we got to the inn, the person we were seeking was there. It was Miros Xelbrin, the son of the old couple who Rillix used to live with. We sat him down and informed him of the bad news. He took it rather well, all things considered. I asked him if he wanted Rillix back too, but he said Rillix would do whatever he felt like.
He had a number of people to introduce us to, once we told him of the giant attack. Turns out two hill giants had tried to attack a few weeks before, but were met with too much resistance, so they left. We met Oren, a halfling living in the inn, who had nothing much relevant to say but was fun and a little hungover. Though he did mention that he had heard of frost giants raiding dragon hordes in the northeast. It’s funny, but the giants seem to be collecting trophies. The nightstone in Nightstone, dragon treasures on the glaciers… what could be their trophy here? And are they competing against each other, perhaps? The timing seems too convenient.
Next we met Lifferlas, who Miros had not told us anything of except his name. He is a talking tree! He was kind, even though he couldn’t remember my name. He told me to carve my initials into his trunk, which is scarred with the marks of all his friends over the many years. He was able to tell us something of the different types of giants out there. There are six: hill, stone, fire, frost, cloud and storm.
Next we met Zi Liang. She is an ascetic living in the abbey in Goldenfields, though when we started to talk about defence of the town she grew angry about the laxness of the town guard. I said I’d try to put in a good word for her. At lunchtime, returning to the inn, we met Naxene Drathkala, the town’s resident wizard. Since Goldenfields is the breadbasket of Waterdeep, the capital sends a wizard to live and work here on regular placements. Naxene was interested to hear what had happened in Nightstone, and we shared information. I also mentioned Zi Liang to her. That afternoon we tried to talk with the captain of the guard, who was always busy napping off his liquid lunch or some other irrelevant activity… but finally when we did get to talk, he seemed to me ineffectual and disinterested. I hope the town doesn’t get attacked again any time soon…
Day 5) 14 Mirtul, 1490 DR, later
I had a dream before the chaos began. I saw a baby. I spoke to it sweetly. It was beautiful. Its irises were so pale, they were nearly white. Not in a bad way. It was beautiful.
My sleep was disturbed by Oren yelling ‘We are under attack!’ We all fell out of the inn, Naxene, Miros and the four of us, and though Oren got badly wounded, we defeated the crowd of goblins, bugbears, and the couple of ogres that pursued him! It was very touch and go for a second. Miros was also hurt, so we sent both him and Oren back into the inn and we set out to ring the abbey bell, since we could not hear any alarm yet.
As we ran past the fields and paddocks towards the abbey we saw livestock being taken by the goblinoids. We made a snap decision that raising the alarm was more important, so we raced to the abbey. Naxene and I used our magic to knock the bell around from far below, and finally it began to ring as we joined Zi Liang and Lifferlas who defended the abbey. The numbers were similar again in this fight, but with the sweeping boughs of Lifferlas to help, it was much easier. Also, as the livestock thieves ran past, Lifferlas’s brothers began to rise from their tranquil sleep, and the animals were soon rescued.
We raced down after them to find an entire section of wall destroyed. Two hill giants were entering through the gap, so we went quickly into action. Giants hit very hard, and Lifferlas and Ninya were gravely wounded. I found the magic in my hands to heal them, though it felt as if it drained me completely of energy. Naxene managed to use her magic to suggest to the one giant to fight the other over a stolen cow. It actually worked! Soon the two giants were crying and cowering, holding their heads, and we managed to take them prisoner. I didn’t know such a thing was possible!
We left Lifferlas, Ninya and Aukanthi in charge of the prisoners while the rest of us ran to man the towers. This time we were finally backed up by the scouts of the town. We were arrayed against an intimidating siege army: four giants, six ogres, and countless goblinoids. But with our huge advantage in ranged attacks, we managed to take out the ogres, who as walking catapults (goblins were their ammunition…) were the most dangerous from that range. We then focussed fire on the giants, and soon their cowardice overtook them and the goblins began to flee too.
I’m not quite sure how we all made it out alive, but here we are.